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Gender, Social Norms, and Household Production in Burkina Faso

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  • Harounan Kazianga
  • Zaki Wahhaj

Abstract

Empirical studies of intrahousehold allocation have revealed that, in many instances, gender is an important determinant in the allocation of resources within the household. Yet, within the theoretical literature, why gender matters within the household remains an open question. In this article, we propose a simple model of intrahousehold allocation based on a particular social institution for the organization of agricultural production practiced among certain ethnic groups in West Africa. We highlight how this institution, while resolving certain problems of commitment and informational asymmetry, can also lead to a gendered pattern in the allocation of productive resources and consumption within the household. Using a survey of agricultural households in Burkina Faso, we show, consistent with this theory, that plots owned by the head of the household are farmed more intensively and achieve higher yields than plots with similar characteristics owned by other household members. Male and female family members who do not head the household achieve similar yields. We argue that the higher yields achieved by the household head may be explained in terms of social norms that require him to spend the earnings from some plots under his control exclusively on household public goods, which in turn provides other family members the incentive to voluntarily contribute labor on his farms. Using expenditures data, as well as measures of rainfall to capture weather-related shocks to agricultural income, we show that the household head has, indeed, a higher marginal propensity to spend on household public goods than other household members. The fact that the head of the household is usually male accounts for the gendered pattern in labor allocation and yields across different farm plots.

Suggested Citation

  • Harounan Kazianga & Zaki Wahhaj, 2013. "Gender, Social Norms, and Household Production in Burkina Faso," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(3), pages 539-576.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/669258
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Raquel Bernal & Michael P. Keane, 2011. "Child Care Choices and Children's Cognitive Achievement: The Case of Single Mothers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 459-512.
    2. Kaushik Basu, 2006. "Gender and Say: a Model of Household Behaviour with Endogenously Determined Balance of Power," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(511), pages 558-580, April.
    3. Bardhan, Pranab & Udry, Christopher, 1999. "Development Microeconomics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198773719.
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    Cited by:

    1. Guirkinger, Catherine & Platteau, Jean-Philippe & Goetghebuer, Tatiana, 2015. "Productive inefficiency in extended agricultural households: Evidence from Mali," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 17-27.
    2. repec:eee:agisys:v:159:y:2018:i:c:p:126-138 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:jcecon:v:45:y:2017:i:2:p:325-343 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Kazianga, Harounan & Wahhaj, Zaki, 2017. "Intra-household resource allocation and familial ties," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 109-132.
    5. Christopher Ksoll & Chantal Toledo & Seth Morgan & Anca Dumitrescu & Kristen Velyvis, "undated". "Evaluation of the Burkina Faso Agriculture Development Project: Design Report," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 1eb478039edc4b0eaaa6144ba, Mathematica Policy Research.
    6. Goetghebuer, Tatiana, 2011. "Productive inefficiency in patriarchal family farms: evidence from Mali," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 34, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
    7. Elodie Blanc & Aurelia Lepine & Eric Strobl, 2014. "Determinants of crop yield and profit of family farms: Evidence from the Senegal River Valley," Working Papers 2014-596, Department of Research, Ipag Business School.
    8. Cheryl Doss, 2015. "Women and Agricultural Productivity: What Does the Evidence Tell Us?," Working Papers 1051, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    9. repec:eee:wdevel:v:105:y:2018:i:c:p:310-320 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Collins, Julia C. & Foltz, Jeremy D., 2013. "Gender Production Differentials In Africa," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150130, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    11. Lambrecht, Isabel & Schuster, Monica & Asare, Sarah & Pelleriaux, Laura, 2017. "Changing gender roles in agriculture?: Evidence from 20 years of data in Ghana," IFPRI discussion papers 1623, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    12. Kazianga, Harounan & Wahhaj, Zaki, 2015. "Norms of Allocation within Nuclear and Extended-Family Households," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205534, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    13. Rama Lionel Ngenzebuke, 2017. "The Returns of "I Do": Multifaceted Female Decision-making and Agricultural Yields in Tanzania," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2017-05, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    14. Niaz Asadullah & Zaki Wahhaj, 2016. "Early Marriage, Social Networks and the Transmission of Norms," Studies in Economics 1602, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    15. Swallow, Kimberly A. & Swallow, Brent M., 2015. "Explicitly integrating institutions into bioeconomic modeling:," IFPRI discussion papers 1420, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    16. Lambrecht, Isabel Brigitte, 2016. "“As a Husband I Will Love, Lead, and Provide.” Gendered Access to Land in Ghana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 188-200.
    17. Richard Akresh & Joyce J. Chen & Charity T. Moore, 2016. "Altruism, Cooperation, and Efficiency: Agricultural Production in Polygynous Households," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(4), pages 661-696.
    18. Independent Evaluation Group, 2014. "Social Safety Nets and Gender : Learning from Impact Evaluations and World Bank Projects," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 21365, June.
    19. Lambrecht, Isabel, 2016. "“As a husband I will love, lead, and provide:†Gendered access to land in Ghana:," IFPRI discussion papers 1514, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    20. Theriault, Veronique & Smale, Melinda & Haider, Hamza, 2016. "Gender Differences in the Adoption of Cereal Intensification Strategy Sets in Burkina Faso," Food Security International Development Working Papers 245896, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    21. Ouedraogo, Aissatou, 2015. "Family Structure and Intrahousehold Resource Allocation: Evidence from Mali," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205772, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    22. Theriault, Veronique & Smale, Melinda & Haider, Hamza, 2017. "How Does Gender Affect Sustainable Intensification of Cereal Production in the West African Sahel? Evidence from Burkina Faso," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 177-191.
    23. Smale, Melinda & Haider, Hamza & Theriault, Veronique, 2016. "Intensification and Intra-Household Decisions: Fertilizer Adoption on Collective and Individual Fields in Burkina Faso," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 235542, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • Q1 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture

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